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1/72nd Blenheim Mk.I & Wellesley of 45 Sqn, both wearing the early temporary desert scheme, Egypt 1939 ***FINISHED***.


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Hiya Folks,..... well I could resist and have decided to do another 45 Sqn Bristol twin,.... this time the Blenheim Mk.I as seen in the  Western Desert in 1939, before Italy entered the war,..... wearing an early  temporary desert finish which appears to have consisted of a temporary Light Stone colour applied over the Dark Green areas of the standard bomber scheme. This temporary scheme was quite short lived and was not around by September 1940 when Italy entered the war but it was seen on Blenheim`s and Wellesley`s and maybe some Gladiators too?

 

Anyway,... here is the model;

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Here is the decal sheet I`ll be using,..... although I think I`ll end up overpainting the OB-W codes?

 

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So I shall crack on and get the interior painted today,

Cheers

        Tony

Edited by tonyot
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Light Stone or Light Earth?  Whichever, one thing to watch is that Dark Earth faded quite rapidly in the Middle East, so pictures can be misleading.  Light Earth/Stone and Dark Earth was seen on Blenheims, and quite likely other types too, but when I was looking for examples on Wellesleys all the examples I could find showed the lighter colour where the Dark Earth had been, rather than the Dark Green.  So check your standard patterns when it comes to other types.  (Except when you get to Hurricanes, where initial confusion reigned, and deserve an entire article by themselves.)

 

However the Wellesley wasn't used in the Western Desert, but generally in greener areas of the theatre, so this could well be another guide to differences.  Not that Aden was particularly green.

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15 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Light Stone or Light Earth?  Whichever, one thing to watch is that Dark Earth faded quite rapidly in the Middle East, so pictures can be misleading.  Light Earth/Stone and Dark Earth was seen on Blenheims, and quite likely other types too, but when I was looking for examples on Wellesleys all the examples I could find showed the lighter colour where the Dark Earth had been, rather than the Dark Green.  So check your standard patterns when it comes to other types.  (Except when you get to Hurricanes, where initial confusion reigned, and deserve an entire article by themselves.)

 

However the Wellesley wasn't used in the Western Desert, but generally in greener areas of the theatre, so this could well be another guide to differences.  Not that Aden was particularly green.

I had been pondering about the darker area of camouflage being green rather than Brown and was going to check it out,..... glad somebody else has similar thoughts too. I`ll start researching this one properly in a day or so. Whatever it is,..... I don`t agree with others who say that Middle Stone was used,...... this colour was developed in 1940 at Farnborough and it is darker,..... the colour used looks more like the Light Stone applied to road vehicles in the theatre,...... and also Light Earth. This applicton of camouflage may have been connected with trials which led to Middle Stone,..... but that is just conjecture on on my part.

I do have quite a few pics in my private collecton of 14 Sqn Wellesley`s wearing this scheme and a big inspection was undertaken by a local royal,...... cannot remember who off the top of my head. ...... which shows the Wellesley`s and Blenheim`s lined up near each other.  The light colour soon began to peel away from the Wellesleys,.. both the metal and fabric areas,.... so no doubt the Blenheim`s were similar? By the start of the war in the Middle East the scheme was no longer seen and the aircraft wore the standard bomber colours of DE.DG.Night. .

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Posted (edited)

OK,.... I`ve dug some pics out of my own collection of photos,...... sorry I`ve had to put watermarks on them, but they did cost me quite a lot of money, buying them from collections which were being broken up!

 

Here is the Blenheim I`m thinking of going for,... taken during an inspection in 1939 for a local royal dignitary,...... are the Lysander`s wearring the same scheme too,.... and also the biplane on the right hand side? Are those OB codes in grey or are the codes in the opposite camouflage colour,.... note the top left part of the `W' is light where it encroaches onto the dark area of camo. Also,.... as Graham says above,..... I still need to doube check the original temperate scheme pattern,..... but the darker area could well be Dark Green and not Dark Earth as often assumed,... so time to start comparing photos;

 

18.jpg

 

Another Blenheim wearing this scheme, albeit to a different pattern, L6823 at Heliopolis,...... note the ring of the painted out yellow roundel ring on the top of the wing, with the resulting red white and blue roundel then converted to a red and blue B Type roundel. Also some of the new colour has been tramped on the feet of the groundcrew onto the original darker shade too.

17.jpg

But..... by the time war broke out in the Middle East,..... 45 Sqn`s Blenheims were wearing standard bomber colours;

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And some Wellesley`s wearing the same desert scheme too;

Wellesley-14-Sqn-1935-great-bitter-lake.

14 Sqn wearing pre war BF codes over the Bitter Lake,.... note how peeled and battered the light colour has become. ,The unit converted onto Blenheim`s in 1940. 

 

wellesley-in-khartoum-pre-war-T-OToole-P

Seen at Khartoum, 45 Sqn pre war codes DD. .

 

wellesley-L2650-EW-B-T-OToole-Photo-Coll

The light colour is extremely worn on this Wellesley, exposing the original colours underneath which does appear to back up the fact that the light colour indeed covered up the mainly Dark Earth areas.

 

 

Anson-47-Sqn-Wellesley-Summit-1940-with-

 

And the Anson above is seen with a KU coded 47 Sqn Wellesley alongside which is wearing the desert scheme, seen at Summit in 1940. 

 

Cheers

           Tony

 

 

 

 

Edited by tonyot
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Excellent subject matter Tony and I'm sure this build will set the tone for many future builds thereafter. Besides the Light Earth (and might I suggest 'pink'?) camouflage shade, the colour of the code letter 'W" appears to be different between the the two sets of Xtradacals sheets that this aircraft is represented in. The initial sheet shows the 'W' in Dark Earth, whilst the latest sheet has the 'W' in dull red? So hard to know which one is correct, however a good study of the B&W photo that appears in Jefford's 'Flying Camels' seems to indicate that it's similar to the camouflage colour. Now whether this is Dark Earth or even Dark Green is another question which is hard to answer. 

Cheers and will watch on with interest... Dave 

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Posted (edited)

So,....

Here is the subject aircraft,  I am pretty sure that there is a darker area of Dark Green under the letter `B' of the OB codes,..... which `might' indicate that the OB codes at least were Medium Sea Grey and the light camo colour had been painted around them? As for the `W',.... who knows,.... but it does have a light area at the top left hand corner which would suggest that it might be applied in camouflage colours? It could also be red,.... with the remaining section that encroches onto the Drk Earth area being left in its original MSG?  

 

18.jpg

 

However,.... when you blow the area up,..... the roundel has a dark outline, showing where the original yellow outline has been overpainted! You cn also see the two toned `W',..... seeing this close up,.... I`m inclined to think that the codes may be in camo colours after all,...or could they be MSG with the section of W on the lighter section of camouflage overpainted with a darker colour,..... red, blue or Dark Earth to make it stand out more,.... it would make sense,... but then the OB codes on the other side of the fuselage would be repainted too as they are on the lighter camouflage section.;

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And here is a standard pattern which matches the above,..... the lighter colour has been applied over the Dark Green areas,....... .

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And it also matches the scheme from the Airfxi 1/48th scale kit;

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So,... I`m looking at a Light Stone, Dark Earth and Black scheme,...... basically the post war RAF Transport  scheme adopted for the very same areas of operation during the 1960`s,..... maybe the RAF dusted off an old file? 

Cheers

         Tony

Edited by tonyot
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3 minutes ago, Rabbit Leader said:

Excellent subject matter Tony and I'm sure this build will set the tone for many future builds thereafter. Besides the Light Earth (and might I suggest 'pink'?) camouflage shade, the colour of the code letter 'W" appears to be different between the the two sets of Xtradacals sheets that this aircraft is represented in. The initial sheet shows the 'W' in Dark Earth, whilst the latest sheet has the 'W' in dull red? So hard to know which one is correct, however a good study of the B&W photo that appears in Jefford's 'Flying Camels' seems to indicate that it's similar to the camouflage colour. Now whether this is Dark Earth or even Dark Green is another question which is hard to answer. 

Cheers and will watch on with interest... Dave 

Thanks Dave,.... I`m thinking of overpainting the Xtradecal codes using the camouflage colours to be fair,..... and I think I`ve established that the light colour was painted over the Dark Green areas of the standard Temperate Land Scheme?

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6 minutes ago, tonyot said:

I`m thinking of overpainting the Xtradecal codes using the camouflage colours to be fair

 

I agree Tony and seems to match the text caption in Jefford's book.. "... by this time (13 Sep 1939) the aircraft had been temporarily repainted in a desert camouflage scheme. The code letters appear to have been applied in the same two contrasting colours, Dark Earth on the locally applied tan and vice versa". 

 

... Any idea what Squadron the 2nd Blenheim in your photo collection is from? I quite like that. 

 

Cheers.. Dave  

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Rabbit Leader said:

 

I agree Tony and seems to match the text caption in Jefford's book.. "... by this time (13 Sep 1939) the aircraft had been temporarily repainted in a desert camouflage scheme. The code letters appear to have been applied in the same two contrasting colours, Dark Earth on the locally applied tan and vice versa". 

 

... Any idea what Squadron the 2nd Blenheim in your photo collection is from? I quite like that. 

 

Cheers.. Dave  

Thanks Dave,..... yeah I`ve rambled along with my musings about the codes above and come to the same basic conclusion,.... although I am open to any ideas really!

 

Re the 2nd Blenheim,.... the caption says,........ Returning to pre war days, this Blenheim Mk.I is L6823 which suffered a collapsed landing gear whilst taxiing at Heliopolis, Egypt during 1938 or early 1939. (Italics added by me at a later date,....Of interest is the temporary desert finish consisting of a light tan colour which is presumably the same Light Stone colour used on RAF and Army vehicles applied over the Dark Green areas of camouflage, resulting in a Light Stone/ Dark Earth finish with Black undersides. The roundels have been converted to the Red and Blue B Type with no fin flash and no unit codes have been applied yet. Again the turret is retracted) this aircraft was later sent to join the Yugoslav Air Force.,....... now checking L6823 out with Air Britain it just says,..... to Yugoslavia as part of the block L6817 - L6819 and L6821-L6834l!!  So something of a mystery why it was in Egypt wearing RAF markings,... it it were not in that block I would say it was repaired and sent to Yugoslavia,...... but who knows?  I could not find another Blenheim Mk.I serial which ended in 823 or even 923!! 

 

Cheers

         Tony

Edited by tonyot
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Fascinating subject matter, Tony, and a camouflage scheme I knew nothing about previously. I'm really looking forward to seeing this come together.

 

Cheers,

Mark

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9 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

Fascinating subject matter, Tony, and a camouflage scheme I knew nothing about previously. I'm really looking forward to seeing this come together.

 

Cheers,

Mark

Thanks Mark,.... hopefully we`ll get there!! 

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Posted (edited)

Got the model started today and did quite a lot,........

                                                                The interior parts were mostly painted last night on the sprues;

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Then construction started with the rear fuselage being joined together,..... and the nose with the cockpit inside,.... I elected not to attach the glazing yet,...... I`ve built a few of these now,.... the first time I left off the glazing until later and snapped the glazing,.... the next time I attached the glazing before joining the ccokpit sides and it went OK,..... then another time I left the canopy off until later and manged OK,.... so we`ll see. I find that leaving it until later helps to keep the nose in place while the glue dries.

I have also started on the wings but one of the undercarriage framework parts pinged off into the ether and has vanished,..... hopefully it will turn up? I also assembled the wheels to allow them to dry in time to sand and fit them later .;

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The main airframe parts together,..... tape is holding the parts together while the glue dries;

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And here the control surface have been attached. One thing of note with the early Mk.I` is that that did not have an air intake on the top of the engine nacelle,... seen marked here in black,..... so these need to be removed;

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And therefore,.... the cut out in the engine cooling gills should not be there either and these will need to be filled,.... but to complicate matters there is also gill joint line running through the gap.;

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So,.... to fill the gap it was first of all squared off, and then filled in using a section of the left over closed cooling gills parts,.... of course this `plug' will need to be trimmed and have some filler applied later ;

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Another part of the engines which needs to be altered is the exhaust ring as the kit item includes protrusions at the front which were only found on the Canadian Bolingbroke,...... an easy mistake to make as Airfi probably examined a museum aircraft which was a Bolingbroke converted to resemble a Blenheim, such as the RAF Museum aircraft. Whatever the case,.... it is simply a quick job to cut them both off and sand the area smooth,..... here the top wing has been modified and the lower ring has the protrusions highlighted in black;

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And the exhaust rings sorted;

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Continuing with the engines,..... these then had their engine covers added, minus the exhaust pipes and the exhaut ring from the front, which I`ll probably paint seperately and add at the end of the build;

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The Blenheim model was then set aside to dry before sanding the seams,.......... but,.......

 

Having researched the Wellesley`s too,.... it seemed a bit sad not to make one of those in 45 Sqn markings too, wearing the desert scheme and the DD pre war codes,... I had already bought the Valom kit to do this very thing,...... so it would seem rude not to build them side by side,.... after all I`ll have the paints out anyway! The kit also includes decals for a 14 Sqn aircraft which I`ll add to a Matchbox Wellesley at  later date;

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I have pre painted the interior parts on the sprue,.....

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The Valom kit is a bit more refined when compared with the old Matchbox kit that I have built in the past with nice interior detail and the option of an opened pilots canopy, so I also cut open the side entrance door for the cockpit on the left hand side. The exterior surface detail of the fuselage is better than the Matchbox kit,.... but I`m not sure about the wings,.... the geodetic framework seems a bit sharper but without the fabric sag of the Matchbox kit.

DSCF1835.jpg

 

Here is the fuselage before joining showing the interior detail which is quite good, with radios and a navigators station complete with chart table, onto which I have added a map. Valom also provide etched seatbelts and an etched instrument panel and rudder pedals as well as radio faces;

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The the fuselage halves were joined, with tape holding it together until it dries;

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I then moved onto the wings. Unlike the old Matchbox kit, Valom have provided a wheel bay, with separate walls but the instructions are very vague indeed as to how these fit and I found that the parts did not fit as they should because the ends at the root did not match the contour of the joint between the wing and fuselage,.... so I swapped them around. Hopefully I`ve done it right,.... we`ll see!! I have also assembled the bomb carriers which fit under the wings. 

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I think we will have fun and games getting the wings to fit into the recesses provided in the fuselage,...... but after a bit of sanding and scraping I decided to leave that for another day as it is getting late now!

 

So that`s it for tonight,

                                 Cheer`s

                                          Tony

Edited by tonyot
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That's a fair days modelling there Tony... I couldn't get that far in two weeks I reckon! Nice to see the Wellesley joining the 45 Squadron stable. It will sure be a decent line up of squadron builds once completed. 

Some interesting notes on the Blenheim mentioned above. I knew about the collector ring, however not the engine intake. I'm sure the 1/48 kit has similar parts, so best to check my kit there. 

Cheers.. Dave 

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6 hours ago, Rabbit Leader said:

That's a fair days modelling there Tony... I couldn't get that far in two weeks I reckon! Nice to see the Wellesley joining the 45 Squadron stable. It will sure be a decent line up of squadron builds once completed. 

Some interesting notes on the Blenheim mentioned above. I knew about the collector ring, however not the engine intake. I'm sure the 1/48 kit has similar parts, so best to check my kit there. 

Cheers.. Dave 

Thanks Dave. Some Mk.I`s may have been retro fitted with those intakes but I`ve seen plenty of Mk.IV`s too that did not have them. 

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This is a very cool project Tony, fascinating research into it to boot. Also you have had your weatabix as usual and are cracking on a pace!

 

Rob

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Not meaning to urinate on your parade, Tony, but those items on top of the nacelles, behind the cooling gills are not intakes. They are the outlet from the oil cooler.

 

49536321337_01611d1423_b.jpg

 

 

 

Chris

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3 hours ago, dogsbody said:

Not meaning to urinate on your parade, Tony, but those items on top of the nacelles, behind the cooling gills are not intakes. They are the outlet from the oil cooler.

 

49536321337_01611d1423_b.jpg

 

 

 

Chris

 

Not peeing on anything mate,..... whatever they were,....intakes, oil cooler outlet,..... they were not fitted to the Blenheim that I`m hoping to replicate,.... nor many other early Blenheim`s. If there was an outlet there on the early aircraft,..... then it must only have been a small hole as the earlier aircraft did not have a cut out in the cooling gills...... I`m aware that this outlet/intake became standard later on with a cut out in the gills and that some aircraft were retrofitted.

Here are some pics of real Mk.I`s which I`ve used as reference;

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1781773-10205892631650422-19538446855048raf-bristol-blenheim-mk-artistic-panda-N

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And these early war 45 Sqn Blenheim Mk.I`s also had full cooling gills without a cut out;

19a-NEW.jpg

20.jpg

 

All the best Chris,

Cheers,

          Tony

 

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Back to the models,..... I got the canopy onto the Blenheim today but I didn`t take any photos as it is covered with tape to keep it all in place while the glue dries,...... I`ll take one fter I`ve removed the tape. I`ve also done most of the sanding on the airframe too.

 

With the Wellesley I did tackle the wings today and they needed quite a bit of sanding along the mating edges to get them to fit into the recesses in the fuselage and that includes the walls of the undercarriage bay too, here is one wing fitted,.... with the other being sanded;

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And both wings fitted,..... using a clamp to keep them together along the bottom section and tape to retain the wings at the correct angle while the glue dries;

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I`ve since fitted the horizontal tailplanes too,...... and also sanded the new 1/144th Hastings and a 72nd Airfix Vampire T.11,.....both ready to paint,... plus I still have the little Buffalo on the go too!

 

Cheers

          Tony

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9 hours ago, tonyot said:

Not peeing on anything mate,..... whatever they were,....intakes, oil cooler outlet,..... they were not fitted to the Blenheim that I`m hoping to replicate,.... nor many other early Blenheim`s.

Hi Tony, as you've surmised, Chris's cutaway showing the protruding outlet and cutaway cooling gills is correct for a later Blenheim, but not an earlier one. 

On the early Blenheim's, the outlet was shorter, the opening being inside the full length cooling gills. 

The modification was to try and improve the oil cooler performance, and as well as the outlet being modified as noted above, the two inlet pipes  at 9 o'clock on the engine front were modified as well. The later style are the conical enlarged intakes shown on the cutaway drawing, the earlier style were just an open ended tube at the front.

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3 hours ago, Dave Swindell said:

Hi Tony, as you've surmised, Chris's cutaway showing the protruding outlet and cutaway cooling gills is correct for a later Blenheim, but not an earlier one. 

On the early Blenheim's, the outlet was shorter, the opening being inside the full length cooling gills. 

The modification was to try and improve the oil cooler performance, and as well as the outlet being modified as noted above, the two inlet pipes  at 9 o'clock on the engine front were modified as well. The later style are the conical enlarged intakes shown on the cutaway drawing, the earlier style were just an open ended tube at the front.

Thanks Dave.  

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Some Blenheims that were used in The Mediterranean/North Africa and The Far East, had an extra oil cooler intake added on the other side of the nacelle, to provide extra air to the cooler.

 

51346390614_27dd000d3f_b.jpg

Bristol Blenheim Mark Is of No. 62 Squadron RAF lined up at Tengah, Singapore, before flying north to their new base at Alor Star, Malaya.

 

 

51344932707_959048714c_b.jpg

Bristol Blenheim Mark I, L1434, of No. 211 Squadron RAF, undergoing an engine service at Paramythia, Greece.

 

 

And on a Mk.IV.

 

51346689415_f52a302b93_b.jpg

Bristol Blenheim Mark IV, V6014 'GB-J', of No. 105 Squadron RAF Detachment in a dispersal at Luqa, Malta. Canvas covers protect the cockpit and glazed nose section from the sun. From July to September 1941, 105 Squadron was detached from the United Kingdom to Malta, to operate against targets in the Mediterranean and North Africa, losing 14 aircraft during the period. Note the modified gun mounting under the nose.

 

 

 

 

Chris

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Posted (edited)

Yes Chris,.... I`m aware of those mate. ... and the cut outs in the cooling gills that they create,..... again,.... mine is an early one and didn`t have these either! I did say that intakes and outlets were added later. 

Edited by tonyot
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Posted (edited)

First of all,...... oops! I found out that the plastic can be rather fragile,...... especially on those long wings!

 

DSCF1883.jpg

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I`ll try to mend it,.... but it is going to be a struggle to retain any of that surface detail in the immediate area! 

 

Back to the Blenheim,....... and feeling quite worried in case I miss something out now,.......... I`ve attached the canopy,... and at least I managed not to crack this too,.... having done so with my first Airfix Blenheim Mk.I model. I decided to cut off the small side  window from the glazing parts and to glaze these slits using Kristal Klear at a later date,.... now this is just a personal method as I find this helps to line everything up more easily. The roof section of the canopy is dry fitted here, but shows the gap at the rear of the sliding access section whih will need to be filled as the canopy ends short;

 

DSCF1897.jpg

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After the sides were attached I attached the roof section. I normally open up the sliding hatch on my Blenheim models by sawing the sliding section away, but in this case I decided to leave it closed and added some tape to help keep it all clamped closed, with Kristal Klear filling the gap at the rear.  I`ve also decided to add the exhaust collectors to the engine nacelles, having said previously that I might leave them off until after painting. Last of all I`ve painted the solid sections in the front of the canopy glazing,..... however,.....  I`ve done this after putting the camea away so I don`t have a photo of this,..... but thought I had better mention it here before somebody reminds me that I`ve missed this off;

DSCF1901.jpg

 

Cheers

          Tony

 

Edited by tonyot
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Wow! At this rate you'll be finished before I get mine done. Been distracted painting wargame stuff, better get a move on I reckon.

Like your Mk.1 the one I'm doing didn't have the oil cooler intake on top of the cowling either.

Great job so far, and I have that Wellesley kit as well, bloody wide wingspan!

 

Davey.

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  • tonyot changed the title to 1/72nd Blenheim Mk.I & Wellesley of 45 Sqn, both wearing the early temporary desert scheme, Egypt 1939 ***FINISHED***.

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